CHI Health gives 3K children’s mental health books to schools – Lincoln Journal Star

CHI Health gives 3K children’s mental health books to schools


CHI Health is helping combat student anxiety and depression by providing 3,000 free books, “A New Norm,” to area elementary and middle schools across Nebraska and southwest Iowa. 

The gift is designed to spark conversations about mental health.

“Educators are often the first adults to notice when our children are struggling personally,” says Marilyn Rhoten, vice president of Behavioral Health at CHI Health. “That’s even more important now as the pandemic continues to create stress for families. These stressors can show up in class, making it challenging to keep education on track.”

The book tells the story of a boy named Norm, whose “norm” was living with a cloud over his head, and nothing he tried could make it go away. Norm explores the confusing feelings of fear, anger and shame experienced during times of crisis and, through that journey, realizes there is hope.

CHI Health is also providing teaching tools including a discussion guide detailing the opportunities Norm’s story provides for exploring anxiety triggers, coping strategies and finding hope. Also provided are guidelines for concerning behaviors, and when and how to seek help from mental health professionals.

“We believe in the difference teachers make in the lives of their students,” says Dr. Cliff Robertson, CEO, CHI Health. “We hope these resources will support the teaching moments that happen in the classrooms every day.”

Recently, more than 750 educators from across the state registered for a first-of-its-kind virtual assembly aimed at supporting a safe return to the classroom. CHI Health mental health and infectious disease experts hosted the half-day webinar, addressing questions about masking and social distancing, and highlighted the importance of self-care.

“A New Norm” was featured during the webinar as a useful educational tool.

“At times like these, it’s important to reach out for help. It’s also imperative to reach out with help,” says Robertson. “Together is how we’ll make it through.”

If you or someone you know struggles with depression and needs assistance, contact CHI Health mental health professionals available 24/7 at 402-717-HOPE. For immediate or urgent help, dial 911.

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